When you want antivirus protection seek out software that can detect and deflect malware. Malware is a computer program created to harm laptops, computers, steal data, or corrupt systems. Malware can be spread through malicious emails, USB drives with questionable content or online ads.
The best antivirus programs are able to detect and block cyber threats. They also provide excellent customer service. They may also be protected by a money-back assurance.
The majority of the antivirus software we tested for this report offered an array of features to help prevent or detect infections. These include signature- and heuristic-based protection, which evaluates new files or programs with known malware signatures. Heuristics also look at the behavior of programs, looking for anomalies or unusual behavior.
Many programs include firewalls that monitor activity and blocks specific ports to protect against attacks. Some include ransomware protection which locks data to ensure that you’ll have pay a fee to decrypt it. Some offer web protection through browser extensions or plugins that block sites that are suspicious or prevent the possibility of accidentally divulging private information to criminals.
Lastly, many of these programs rely partially or completely on cloud-based verification of URLs, files, data and other information. They upload a list of running and installed applications, as well as the metadata of the files and their signatures to the cloud for a check against databases maintained by the company. Companies vary on how they disclose this and whether they allow you to choose to opt out.